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My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long)

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Joined: 16 Jan 2009
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My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2009, 07:49
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Test Day

It was a beautiful day in upstate NY and I felt at peace with the world. I went out to my car to start the long drive from Ithaca NY to Syracuse and guess what my car wouldn't start! How frustrating!!! I waited a few minutes and it finally started. But this little set back was an omen of how my day would go. I drove 21 miles and got to Cortland. At that time I needed to use the rest room. I stopped at a Sunoco (pronounced Su-no-ko) station. My bladder and bowels were not cooperating. I'm not sure if it was nerves but it was distracting. I decided to buy a soda (Dr. Pepper) to soothe my stomach. Well, my Honda Civic doesn't have a cup holder (weird, huh?) so I jam the cup between the passenger seat and e-brake lever. I pulled out of the station feeling better when I noticed that my cup had slid backwards dripping Dr. Pepper on the carpet. I quickly slid the cup back into place and soda must have accumulated in the straw. In the process of putting the cup back, the straw, serving as a catapult, launched soda all over the inside of my windshield and all over the top of the dash. I got some on my shorts too. I thought to myself "What else can go wrong?" I shouldn't have asked. On the unintentional comedy scale I would rate my experience a 7.5.

A little city called Cortland has a college there and is on the way to the 81 freeway. The NY Jets decided to hold training camp on the SUNY Cortland campus. I had planned for this and intended to leave two hours early. However, with the car and bowel problems I was running a little behind schedule. The traffic was horrendous in Cortland because of the Jets and because of construction. This led to more frustration and stress.

Once I got onto the 81 freeway things were good. I listened to No Doubt's greatest hits and tried to relax. During the drive I saw a cloud that looked like an equilateral triangle and quickly recited the formula for the area of an equilateral triangle which is $$s^2\sqrt{3}/4$$. All was good.

I got to the testing center in East Syracuse with 15 minutes to spare before my 2:00 p.m. appointment. Then BOOM I had to use the bathroom AGAIN! After bonding with the porcelain, I approached the front desk and the girl gave me a list of instructions. Pearson VUE now has palm recognition software. Interesting.

I breezed through the two essays. Went to the bathroom again (My dang bowels!) and came back ready to conquer the GMAT.

I finished the GMAT and scored a 620 (39Q 53%, 36V 78%). [EDIT: AWA 5.5]

As the last one in the testing center I sat there for a few minutes stunned. I thought, "All of my hard work and the best I can score is a measly 620?" I am extremely disappointed with this score. My diagnostic back in June was a 650 (38Q, 42V). So I expected at the very least a 660-680. Here's how I screwed up the test:

1. My timing was off. I should have practiced this more instead of leaving it for the week before. My logic behind this was that if I knew the content really well then my speed would increase and the time spent on questions would decrease.
2. I don't think some of the fundamentals were as solid as they could have been. As Rasheed Wallace says "Ball don't lie" ... and so it is with the GMAT ... "GMAT don't lie." You either know the stuff or you don't. I got hammered on that probability question and a difficult geometry question.

Quant Experience

For the quant section I was behind from the beginning. Around the 4th or 5th question I got a difficult probability question followed by 2 equally difficult questions. I spent 6 minutes on the probability question and I think I got it wrong. I keep thinking to myself "Move on, move on." I couldn't bring myself to do move on since I felt that I was close to solving it. The question was really quite difficult to extract the information needed to solve the problem. By question 20 of 37 on the quant section I had approximately 20 minutes left. It was a race to the finish.

Verbal Experience

Verbal was worse than quant. I had a lot of difficult CR problems and two really difficult reading passages. I was cursing GMAT the whole time because the beginning CR passages were crazy difficult. One particular CR was an LSAT type question with a long passage, at least for the GMAT, with an A-to-B,-B-to-C,-C-to-A,-what-can-you-infer-from-this-type-of-question. On question 21 I checked the time and was shocked to find that I had 19 minutes remaining with one long RC passage to go. The last 7 questions were absolute guesses.

The lesson learned from this experience as J. Walter Weatherman would say: "And that's why you don't put off your timing practice."

Practice Test Scores

GMATprep 1

650 (38Q, 42V) June 21, 2009 DIAGNOSTIC
670 (38Q, 44V) July 6, 2009
660 (39Q, 42V) July 18, 2009
740 (45Q, 47V) July 30, 2009 - Verbal may have been skewed due to several repeats

After my 740 score I uninstalled the software. I had an old CD version of GMATprep so I decided to download the software from MBA.com. I took the test and saw one familiar question in quant and all new questions in verbal (even the reading comprehension passages!). I scored a 710 (45Q, 42V) August 8, 2009. I even made a thread about it: does-anyone-know-whether-gmac-changes-questions-in-gmatprep-82087.html

The Wednesday before the test I took GMATprep 1, primarily for timing purposes and scored a 700 (48Q, 38V). I was a little worried because I never scored below a 38 on verbal. I wrote about that here: someone-console-me-has-this-happened-to-anyone-82303.html

GMATprep 2

680 (42Q, 40V) June 27, 2009
720 (47Q, 42V) July 11, 2009
720 (45Q, 42V) July 25, 2009
710 (42Q, 46V) August 5, 2009

This was after the reinstall from MBA.com. I saw all new quant questions and some repeats in verbal (mainly RC passages ... I freakin' hate TQM!!!).

730 (49Q, 40V) August 11, 2009

Final Thoughts

I think I should retake the test. What do you guys think? After decompressing I realized that, although I screwed up, my score isn't that bad. Plus, knowing what I did wrong is half the battle.

My dream school is INSEAD and my current score is not good enough since INSEAD's 80% range is 650-740 or something like that. I am really disappointed with my performance. However, I am optimistic that I can break the 700 barrier. What do you GMATClubbers think? If you think I should retake, how should I prepare, what materials should I use to prepare with and when should I take the test?

Franklin Delano Bluth

Last edited by Franklin on 28 Aug 2009, 13:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2009, 19:55
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Hey Frank,

I'm not a guru but I think you should definitely give it a second shot. Your math needs improvement. I suggest you buy MGMAT's material for math; it is very good and you get access to the 6 CATs, which are awesome. Since you are a lawyer, your verbal doesn't need major improvement but only a little tweaking to take it to 40+

Ciao,
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2009, 22:54
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definitely retake! you just had a bad day, maybe nerves got to you?

I recently had the same thing happen to me when I took the gmat. I was scoring 720 on my last 2 gmatprep tests and I got a 660 on the actually test, still not sure what happened! but given your practice tests you can absolutely score 700+ and I will be retaking with you! hah so you are not alone!

My plan is to go back over the broad basics first for a couple days and then start using gmatclub math tests for the hard quant problems

cheers! hopefully we can both get to 700+!
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2009, 00:05
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Expert's post
Your quant score is pretty consistent but the Verbal went down significantly. I have noticed this a few times over time.
I believe even GMAC has trouble keeping verbal consistent. I would recommend to reschedule the test for the next month - in 30-45 days. Take a week/few days off.
Then work on math and verbal for the next month. Improve your math a few points (go through Kaplan Math Foundations or Kaplan Math Workbook)
Do something similar with Verbal - which is your weakest area (hopefully not RC) and work on that one.

Your goal is to - maximize points and have a better day next time that would be on par with your practice verbal performance.
Invest time into the areas easiest to improve
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2009, 19:30
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Retake. I believe you can do it base on your gmatprep scores.

In order to get a realistic shot into Insead, a 700+ is a must. Or if you have excellent accomplishments, then the lower half of 80% range may be acceptable.
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2009, 21:02
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Initially I had a tough time realizing whether I learned the concept or just remembered the Q & A. It might sound silly but it did happen to me on few concepts not every one though. Do not give up in a fit of rage. 2 months is not sufficient enough for many people, including myself, even though it might seem so. But the good thing is you were at 620 to start with and I am sure many of us who eventually got past the 700 hurdle might have been below the mean of 550. I was so bad with grammar that I did not know when such as should be used and when like should be used. Re evaluate your strengths and weakness and come up with a strategy that will fit you.

If you are beyond 30 miles or have to travel on interstate with severe traffic, I suggest you go the night before and get good rest. But that's me and my thought. fortunately my test center was 5 min/miles away from my home.
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2009, 03:02
Thanks.... Can you please tell us how you avoided questions from getting repeated in so many attempts.

Install ...Unistall or is there any other way around!!
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2009, 07:39
gmac25 wrote:
Thanks.... Can you please tell us how you avoided questions from getting repeated in so many attempts.

Install ...Unistall or is there any other way around!!

Hi gmac25,

I got a "used" GMATprep CD from a friend who took the test last year. I was told by this friend not to register for the test until I was hitting a certain score. Once I did hit my target score, I registered for the test, uninstalled the CD version and downloaded the version from mba.com. I saw all new questions when I did that. You can see my thread about that here: does-anyone-know-whether-gmac-changes-questions-in-gmatprep-82087.html

HTH

Franklin
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2009, 07:43
icandy wrote:
Initially I had a tough time realizing whether I learned the concept or just remembered the Q & A. It might sound silly but it did happen to me on few concepts not every one though. Do not give up in a fit of rage. 2 months is not sufficient enough for many people, including myself, even though it might seem so. But the good thing is you were at 620 to start with and I am sure many of us who eventually got past the 700 hurdle might have been below the mean of 550. I was so bad with grammar that I did not know when such as should be used and when like should be used. Re evaluate your strengths and weakness and come up with a strategy that will fit you.

If you are beyond 30 miles or have to travel on interstate with severe traffic, I suggest you go the night before and get good rest. But that's me and my thought. fortunately my test center was 5 min/miles away from my home.

No, I hear ya on that. On some quant problems I would remember the Q&A from the OG. It did happen on a few concepts. So I guess I need to strengthen my conceptual understanding.

I plan to take a week off (vacation) and then get back to it. Looking back on the experience I know I could have done better. I'm not as disappointed as I was on Friday. It is what it is ... I just need to keep pushing.
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2009, 07:55
boeinz wrote:
Retake. I believe you can do it base on your gmatprep scores.

In order to get a realistic shot into Insead, a 700+ is a must. Or if you have excellent accomplishments, then the lower half of 80% range may be acceptable.

Thank you for your support! I believe I can do it too. As for INSEAD, I believe that a 700+ is a must. Although I have a very interesting background, e.g., lawyer, politician, college quarterback, entrepreneur, etc. I don't want the GMAT to be my hang up. I don't want any excuses for them to reject me.

When I owned my real estate investment company lenders/investors would always tell me: "Never give us a funding proposal with weaknesses that would allow us to reject your proposal." I'm taking the same strategy with my mba apps.
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2009, 08:05
Quote:
Hey Frank,

I'm not a guru but I think you should definitely give it a second shot. Your math needs improvement. I suggest you buy MGMAT's material for math; it is very good and you get access to the 6 CATs, which are awesome. Since you are a lawyer, your verbal doesn't need major improvement but only a little tweaking to take it to 40+

Ciao,
Uplugged

Quote:
definitely retake! you just had a bad day, maybe nerves got to you?

I recently had the same thing happen to me when I took the gmat. I was scoring 720 on my last 2 gmatprep tests and I got a 660 on the actually test, still not sure what happened! but given your practice tests you can absolutely score 700+ and I will be retaking with you! hah so you are not alone!

My plan is to go back over the broad basics first for a couple days and then start using gmatclub math tests for the hard quant problems

cheers! hopefully we can both get to 700+!

Thanks Jolt! When do you plan to retake? I pm'ed Avernusaur about Total GMAT Math. You may wanna check it out. It seems like a really good resource. I downloaded the free excerpt and so far so good.

Quote:
Your quant score is pretty consistent but the Verbal went down significantly. I have noticed this a few times over time.
I believe even GMAC has trouble keeping verbal consistent. I would recommend to reschedule the test for the next month - in 30-45 days. Take a week/few days off.
Then work on math and verbal for the next month. Improve your math a few points (go through Kaplan Math Foundations or Kaplan Math Workbook)
Do something similar with Verbal - which is your weakest area (hopefully not RC) and work on that one.

Your goal is to - maximize points and have a better day next time that would be on par with your practice verbal performance.
Invest time into the areas easiest to improve

Thanks for the support bb! I appreciate the advice and my plan is to retake in October. I'll be a regular here on the forums. Thanks for creating such a great resource.
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2009, 13:28
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Hi Franklin,

I actually had the opposite experience.

On my first attempt at the GMAT (Dec 2007) I felt great, slept well, etc, and scored a 610.

On my second attempt, I didn't sleep all night, food didn't settle in my stomach, and for some reason, the vents could not get to my cube (got really hot). Add to that I *felt* like I did terrible, and I somehow pulled a 710 out of a hat (albeit lower AWA, I'm guessing my hands did not cooperate with my mind during proofing being sleep deprived and all).

You should be able to do much better. If you broke 700 on all the different practice exams, you should be able to break 700 on the real thing (I never broke 700 on any practice tests).
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2009, 22:49
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Hi Franklin!

What does it mean that you hope - u really must do it! ) I saw your profile and I would like to tell you that I had no single attempt with more than V40 result, so u are destined to score 700 + )) 90% of people on gmat club have the opposite problem with high math and low verbal - and believe me that is far more difficult to handle.
I advice you to practise only math (if preparation time is restrained) as I believe you could fairly quickly improve it, and secondly I am sure that u failed on the test with verbal because of stressing quant section. And finally one more reason to practice math is that for Bschools the score should be ideally balanced but if not, its better to compensate for verbal with math than vice versa.
I recommend gmatclub tests, as they are the most convinient for practise and cover majority of questions. Kaplan 800 is not bad, may be its questions are not relevant to the real test -but it certainly makes your brain to work and seak answers - that is the main. For this reason I practised also some extremely tough MGMAT questions (do not remember where I got them I heard that Extreme Challenge is a really good stuff - but I haven't enough time to try it.
Do not lose time on OG questions - but go already to tough questions. Its the same as advancing with LSAT CR/RC - it is definitely blows your brain at first but then you feel as if you changed your very old car with mechanical gearbox on a new BMW
Good luck!
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2009, 14:32
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go for the second attempt..you will definitely do much better guessing on your potential.
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2009, 14:38
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Hi Franklin,

I strongly suggest that you should give it a second try. I know this feeling and I have gone thru this .. On the practice tests I never scored less than 750-760 but on real GMAT i can't even came close to 7xx. You will have to give it one more shot ands hope for the best...

Best of luck!
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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24 Aug 2009, 20:54
Thanks for the support mohater, zyskind, whatthehell and rao_1857!

I've decided to retake and started my prep with Total GMAT Math to refresh areas that I am shaky on. I also plan to use some of my old LSAT tests to practice the more difficult CR questions I encountered on the real thing. Maybe I should keep a log like bipolarbear ...
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2009, 07:50
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Best of luck !!!! and hope you see a 7xx this time !!!
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2009, 08:38
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Franklin wrote:
Thanks for the support mohater, zyskind, whatthehell and rao_1857!

I've decided to retake and started my prep with Total GMAT Math to refresh areas that I am shaky on. I also plan to use some of my old LSAT tests to practice the more difficult CR questions I encountered on the real thing. Maybe I should keep a log like bipolarbear ...

A log might definitely track your preparation. And you can also expect some good suggestions from the fellow GMATClub members. All the best for your preparation.....
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2009, 11:18
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Franklin,

Definitely Retake!

Hopefully, you can share some tough CR problems in the forum and we can all learn from it.
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Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long) [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2009, 12:14
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Completely support your decision to retake. Wish you all the best!
Re: My Botched Attempt at 700+ (Kinda Long)   [#permalink] 25 Aug 2009, 12:14

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